tv Panel Discussion on Writing About Cities CSPAN November 2, 2015 7:00am-7:51am EST
sweetheart, i said, it could never have worked. i was headed for where i am now. what is it with you, he countered, why did you make such a holocaust with us? why did you kee keep making sene until all it had left was to the taste in my mouth of your unholy dissatisfaction? i felt my eyes turned inward toward that big white opacity that surrounds my heart when it comes to the erotic love. i can't do men, i said. what the hell does that mean, he said? i'm not sure. when will you be sure? i don't know. what do you do in the meantime? i take notes. so that's the vivian gornick. [applause] spent okay. my first question for you, vivian, you have this odd woman and the city profile. can he tell us about the odd woman in the city speak with
yes, i could. well, this city -- is this all right? isn't working? >> louder. >> can you hear me now? the idea of the walker in the city, the one who is walking without purpose, the one who is walking in order to absorb the city in order to understand oneself better. that is a tradition which goes back to the 19th century, and one that i consciously took upon myself to enter and to join. it is also true that it's very rare that any woman has taken place in that urban literature. the walker in the city who walks
aimlessly and get with the deeper purpose. that's how i saw myself, and that person is inevitably a single person, whether in actuality, but certainly in spirit. so that is of the essence. and in my case that singleness of life became my life, and i wanted to use it in order to show how quote-unquote people like me use the city. is that an answer? >> okay. moving onto david ulin. you may read his writings in the "los angeles times." is a book critic for the "los angeles times" and he's a chronicler of los angeles itself. and to give you a taste of his new book called "sidewalking" david writes, this is what all these years in l.a. have taught me, that the only strategy for reckoning with the place is to deployed a kind of double vision
by which we peel back the clichés, the received wisdom, received from who often wonder, and interact with the city on its terms. yes, los angeles is sprawling random without narrative except of course when it is not. yes, they can still be sunbaked and a vacancy here where no one walks, cars fly any silent stream but the same might argue may be said of any similar summit shows up for a few days or a few weeks and tries to come to the conclusion rather than to engage. so david, in "sidewalking" there's you and there is l.a. at the impact of mutual creation. in other words, uremic l.a. in your image and then l.a. we makes you in its image. can you talk about that a little bit? >> yeah, i think, i grew up here so i have kind of, i kept the
split between new york and los angeles. when i first moved to los angeles i found myself framing of the filter of the next new yorker. it was approved when i moved there which was for disgruntled ex-new yorkers. i never actually went to one of their meetings by 30 together on sunday mornings and complain how the bagels suck and it was no good pizza. going off what vivian was think i agree, i consciously put myself in that category. i think walking for me is a way of connecting with and integrating an understanding place in personality place. i always walking cities. every city i've ever lived in. when i moved to los angeles which is not a walking culture as we all know the only way for me to really find my own way out against my own identity was to try to figure out how to walk. walking in a nonblocking environment again the way of me
and post my sensibility on the city but paradoxically it allowed the city to kind of intimate in a certain sense. that's attention or set of dichotomies i am constantly kind of thinking about and wrestling with. >> okay. then we have luc sante, and luc has written "low life" but his newest book is just a wonderful social history of paris, "the other paris," and he's also, you know, general and social critic of crime, culture, books, photography. to give you a taste of the other paris, luc writes the past, whatever its drawbacks, was wild. i contrast the present is formed. the exigencies of my proclivities of bureaucrats, terrified of anomalies, chaos, anticipation, laughter, unanswerable questions have conspired to create the
conditions, to sanitize the city to the point where there will be no surprises, no hazards, no spontaneous outbreaks. it was a flavor to the city that was not eradicated. it had a fugitive lyricism, almost impossible to recapture. so luc what is this other paris and what you think a stranger would be most surprised to learn about this other paris that you write about? >> well, i think he would be most surprised to learn that -- hello? okay. into the mic like this, right? they would be most surprised to learn that the weather this other paris. it's a place of luxury and design, high style. and the working-class paris that occupied a good three quarters of the land mass as recently as been 40 years ago is pretty much
gone. there are relics, traces, housing projects which have the effect of eliminating street lights anyway. i come to this book from a number of different personal perspectives. first of all the european working-class is my people. that's why come from. i have a personal stake. i am belgian but really there's not that much difference between the culture of the parisian working-class and that of the working-class when you talk about 75 or 100 years ago. and i also had a few life-changing periods in paris. in the '70s and 80s mostly. and the street life, just many possibilities, chance
encounters, of turning a corner and coming up on something completely unexpected. and the fact that so much of that is diminished, has been diminished by laws, real estate, interest, et cetera, i felt it was imperative to get it down on paper before everybody forgot. >> so all three of you mentioned this issue of loneliness and social, luc, you call that living in the street begging, you talked about loneliness and there's this character in a book called leonard. i'm jealous of leonard. not have a slight but the friendships he develops with you. so that's a beautiful. can you describe loneliness in the book and how it developed you as a writer? >> how can i describe lowly? the way i use loneliness, this huge catchall word now in our lives, is really simply to
dramatize the singleness of the experience of walking the streets, which actually we all can describe ourselves as being lonely figures on the street. that is what it does. however, it is also true that in my generation the first time in history really that millions of people are living alone, people like ourselves, people of every stripe and condition are living alone. 50%, the census tells us that 50% of all new york city households are single person household. never before have so many of us chosen, not chosen, but experienced the singleness of life as so many do. so in that sense we are living in a time when actual crude, rock-bottom loneliness is
something that spills out onto the streets. and in a city like new york, where people are eager, eager to engage, eager to hear themselves speak in public, you haven't street theater on demand anywhere you go, and a bus come on the street come in a store, and your own apartment when you open the door the electrician or the plumber, there's always a willingness and openness our readiness, and eagerness to encounter. it's not frightened. is not withdrawn. it's not hesitant. it's exactly the opposite. that is how i am using the word or the idea of loneliness, and it's the interaction with the city. i have no theories. i have no theories. i have no taste or capacity actually for abstraction. my entire encounter is on the
ground, what actually happens. i start with the concrete and then i tried to make larger sense of the. so my book is filled with actual ordinary encounters, and it's out of that that i pieced together this question, and it is out of that from there that i begin to examine what friendships are, what love is, et cetera. the ground is the necessity of these encounters on the street. and it's true. i did experience like that we. i can be miserable, depressed or anxious. i walk out in the street and i feel revitalize inner-city. i am an example of her rider who second accrued material of her own life and as a cheech by students, i've tried to make a virtue out of it, a writing virtue. and that's it. me, loneliness in the city. >> and the encounters are
gorgeous. i was laughing out loud. >> it's all there. >> speaking of the streets, luc, tell us about the phenomenon that interested you the most about 19th century paris that might interest contemporary new yorkers. >> gee, well, that's a vast question. i hardly know where to begin. i was interested in finding out just how far bohemia went back. this vague idea the 1830s or something goes back right after the fall of napoleon. you have young people living together in large groups, and not only are they revolutionizing paintings and stuff like that but they start all these fads. first because at the time the official culture is neoclassical
at the paintings, architecture and so one. so they rebel against this by affecting a complete medieval getup, down to the short swords and haircuts and changing their names to medieval sounding names, and they carry on with the clothing, all this stuff if they carry on with us until they are bored, and then they become the nation's on the 17th century. one that after another proceeding this way for about 20 years until bohemia became something else. all these things, that dress up things that make it into now, but this kind of stuff was going on 200 years ago. that really fascinated me. i have no idea.
>> okay, bohemian. david, what do you find most challenging about writing about l.a. and about the place of generally? >> i think to sort of ente answe last question first, find the something original or new to say something about place. i think that's particularly true in terms of los angeles which is a city that is completely surrounded by and in many ways on the outside anyway defined by stereotypes and clichés which began for me, how many of you guys know angelina is? we have some good ones. angelina is someone who is famous for being famous. i don't how describer. she drives about a pink corvette. she billboards offer so. she never did much. when i first moved to los angeles i hated her pick of the culture of flash and spectacle and everything i wanted the city
to not represent. after about four or five years i fell in love with her because she was a symbol of flash and spectacle. and with everything that irritated everybody outside of the city. another five years i became entirely ambivalent about angelina. she's both. she's the crochet on the one hand a sort of flash and spectacle. she is something kind of interesting infinitely because she is an entirely self-created phenomenon. a symbol of will and a certain sense which is one of the fundamental things about los angeles we often overlook. it is a fast semi desert encampment on a big basin full of tar and sand that will one day be shaken into dust, maybe today. so there's a kind of offering up existential tension in living in that city, whether it has to do with the geologic history of the place or the human history of the place.
and so trying to wrap your mind around that in one what is really fascinating. trying to undermine or undercut all of those crochet scope all that received official with the city means is really challenge in interest. that was one of the reasons i decided to write a book using walking as a lens because it was counterintuitive filter. my initial impulse was to write a sort of nonresidents version set in los angeles. i loved the idea of look at the city through a lens that was not the expected length because i think we constantly have to jar ourselves, to put in a city surrounded so much by that stuff. we've got to jar ourselves into thinking about it in different ways. >> so is your book is filled with stuff that you see while walking? >> there's a lot of walking but also i put a lot of history because los angeles is considered to be the city without history. in many ways that's true but also not true. it has an american is 100 plus
years at this point but it has as long geologic history. it's considered to be an artificial city which is partially true but all cities are artificial. so walking, some history, and something about how it is evolving a because it is becoming more of a traditional city with finally the rebuilding of the public transportation infrastructure, and the kind of vertical. so that's an interesting phenomenon to try to think about. >> i don't know if this is an appropriate moment i would like to insert something now that goes back to what luc was describing when he told you that working-class europe is the place he comes from. working-class immigrant bronx is were i come from, and it made me realize that for each of us, that history is inside us so deeply it colors all my entire
growing up years. i am positive i still see new york through that lens. and whether it's there or not, i create it and there's enough of it there to help me. i'm not crazy so i'm not making things up. i'm taking which they are to be seen and i'm getting it back to you through all this that is inside become and ensure we're all doing that. be interesting, what's interesting to me is to read a book about new york written by a park avenue want to acy those will come out of that. >> data louis. >> the book said generally have been loved by new york, by new yorkers about new york, has been written by people who come from the extremely flavorful new york, well, places in the city's that are so marked by the inventiveness of those who have
less, you know, in material terms and, therefore, make more out of what they have. there's a scene in my own book in which i describe walking with leonard, practically lifelong friend, and the way he walks the streets in the city, which is throughout the boroughs, unlike his feet are flat on the ground as he knows every single borough, and he always reminded me of the post-world war ii italian movies in which you have working-class wrong with scenes so often, and it's the world of people who own the streets by walking them and knowing them and, therefore, transform it, making them in your own image and having that imprint. i'm not in the working class anymore, and i don't know working-class neighborhoods. people are always saying the city is finished, it's all over, but what do i know? what do we know?
it's been replicated i'm sure in the bronx your in the bronx, queens, all over the place. we are waiting for those books, i'm waiting to see those books. i don't know why i feel compelled to say this spent on what to do. i was talking to a bookseller about a wonderful bookstore in texas and he said if i have to read another book about brooklyn i'm going to jump off the building. want to do many things i enjoyed about the book is having an impt in new york it really is as you said a foot on the ground, just original, take on new york that helps me see what i hadn't seen. there is this proliferation of a books, about new york and brooklyn. a lot of it seems trite. >> the brooklyn that comes through is full of middle-class wannabes, right? >> bohemians. >> and it doesn't have much city flavor i have to say.
isn't that true? >> luc, are you suggesting paris and new york are finished, like vivian is saying? would you say that, or could he? >> i don't know about finished. because there's always something around the corner. it's a very different experience now because you don't have people very much selling stuff on the street. you don't have, i mean, it's an expensive place to live first of all. you also don't have that kind of social arrangements you once had a. vpn, talking to a more single people than ever living individual in apartments now. well, they were just as many single people, they be a few less, i don't know, in the city of the past but they tend to live in rome in houses or boarding houses where they did
think communally. there was a lot more common space. when real estate was a cheaper if you want to open the story got all money from the bank, he opened the store. try that now. it was understood this stretch of sidewalk, even though it belongs to the city and not to you, you could do your thing. if you were a fire eater you could set up shop and breathe fire. and that sort of thing hasn't diminished dramatically. we have, you know, blocks that are been taken up by modern architecture, modern constructions that fill up the entire block. that many fewer places for people to hang out and there are probably laws and not to mention spikes to prevent people from sitting. you know, in every way laws,
real estate, money has driven people narrowly to walk down the sidewalk and into the appropriate stores so they can spend the money and then come out again. the experience of living in the streets, just experiencing the streets for the own sake is something that is greatly diminished i will say it's finished that is not in a good way right now is the are you paris or new york? >> both. >> i have a friend, in l.a. who calls it the gentle repression of the street, that the purpose of the street is now not necessarily so much as something we passed through, but that we being either forcibly or subtly guided into stores, that the street has become kind of commercial conveyance as opposed
to human conveyance. i think there's a lot of merit to that observation. >> it goes really far back. i also remember this little rhyme which i think was a song from the time of the english revolution, which in the 17th century, which went along in prisons better from the woman who steals the goose him off the common but sets the greater fellows who steals the common from the goose. and it's been going on since then. >> i have to register at the stinking view. i can't help but it is really why i wrote this book. i can, just i don't expect to see this with the i from this culture. i never buy anything. and nobody i know buys anything, or they give i don't notice it. i don't know anybody who talks about real estate or who is in banking or in city government. vip people. there's a lot of you out there
who are still making this place move. it is true that character, the profile of the city, the world has changed. that's why this is called global but we don't experience the world globally. we experience it locally. right? really come a day when i directed into a store i will come back and write that book, but i still feel there's a huge amount of invented resourceful, entertaining life on the streets that we continuously gives me that affection for life. i can't be certain that view. >> if i can ask a question and then we would love to hear from you and open up questions from you. if you talk about how you actually write, trembling, as i understand your living in new york and you're living in l.a., david. do you guys literally right in the city or are you that the
causeway and shuts life off was at a writers colony or in the middle of nowhere? can you just described your writing process and the place of your writing process? >> well, i used to write in the city when i lived in the city. i've been gone for a while now but i work, i write at home. i always have done so. i've made sporadic attempt to go right in both rooms or whatever, and i did spend, last year i went to mcdonald's, fantastic but basically i write in my office which is in my basement. >> i'm a working writer. when the kids were young i never applied to arrive at the call because of the articles are not do any writing and i would go up there, come home and my wife would kill me. so i stayed home. also a writer living. i bought my own book but a fight for the newspaper. one of the best things about being a journalist is that it kind of forced me to learn how
to produce. deadline is a beautiful, creative endeavor. it maybe get out of my own way and have been able to apply that to my own writing. i sit in a converted breakfast room surrounded by 20,000 books. my son is convinced, like collier brothers and they'll be buried under that stuff at some point. i just write, and i write without a plan. i have an idea like a sub i started this book i was really using the model but it morphed on as opposed to morphe morpheds opposed to evidence of what i had to listen to what the book was telling me. i fought it for a while and get caught by. i think of it in those ways and then i just sat there until it's done. i rewrite while on traffic and go back and revise once the draft is done. >> what neighborhood in l.a.? >> i live in a neighborhood called, naturally called midcity. it's also sort of a little south
of mid-wilshire. i often call a generic city of l.a. a terrific book about los angeles 40 some years ago called los angeles, the architecture. he calls it the plains of it, so i will go with that. >> it's funny you should ask this question because i just wrote a piece called why i live were i live, a title i took from the southern writer harry crews. he wrote a piece called why i live where i live at the top that many, many times. what he said essential is he lives in gainesville, florida. why? a small university town. he doesn't come from. why does he live there? because we looked out the back window of his study, he sees a stream and extreme he knows goes back to the swamp where he came from in georgia. and he says essentially i can't write when i'm home i tried to
write back in georgia and they could. just sat there in eight. on the other hand, went to tennessee or upstate new york and i couldn't write their either. that was too far from home. home. so these days home he suffocates. if you leave so he loses oxygen. he found his place, this particular geographic distance that echoes for him a necessary interdisciplinary he needs to work. conversely, i once brought a dinner table conversation about this subject to an end in houston, why i live i live, and i said if everybody i knew died tomorrow i would be okay because i still have new york. [laughter] not so far. and when i said that i realized myself, i've never started a serious piece of writing except
in new york city. so i echo that. at a wrote this piece to include speculations about all the people who live in ex-pats because they need to get that far away, but like me and harry crews, write about over every writer, i do believe in that. i believe there's a place where the sense of rock-bottom well being that contributes to the freedom, the inner freedom to find their way into the work. >> okay. questions from anybody? if we can line up for questions. let's see, i assumed would be easier if people go to the mic, no? or do you prefer to pass the mic? >> thanks so much for the panel. you mentioned the verticalization of l.a. and paris example, but i was wondering what you thought this kind of upcoming, official high
population density is going to do to public life in cities. that's a question for all three. >> it's a complicated question. i can only speak to, i may, new yorkers highly already dense if i put in l.a. what appears to be happening that it's unclear is that it's creating a kind of more of a coherent sense of our coherent los angeles identity. i would argue l.a. is a coherent or cohesive say that one of his chart is that it is not but that notion of a kind of let's see los angeles sensibility or sense of the city at of the city as something together i think is one of the most interesting social developments in the last 10 years been held at a think a lot of it has to do with the process of been supplying. >> in terms of population mass,
realize that whole big chunks of manhattan have a fraction of the population they had a few years ago. these famous blocks on the lower east side, yeah, at one time the block between bounded by ridge editor in an houston and stanton streets with the most densely populated place in the western hemisphere. distant memory eric so it's not population density. it's really how crowds use the streets and the relation between where you live and what lies behind. to go to a place, in some ways i mean, when i first went to battery park city i was astonished. it didn't really come here was physical evidence. unmonitored river. i can see jersey city across a way, and get why do i feel like, you know, forgive me,
wisconsinites, why do i feel like i am in oshkosh? >> absolutely, right. it is true. it is so weird. it's the whole story. i live in greenwich village. i live across the street from what was st. vincent's hospital. that went down after a long fight. the developers wonder there's a this gigantic condominium structure going out. toby a couple thousand more people on the streets in greenwich village in no time and everyone is anxious about what will happen at the same time like you say, lower east side. >> i remember what happened to hoboken when hoboken with some kind of a half populated city which was in the '70s, buildings were half-empty and practically giving apartment away. and it was this huge rush around into the '80s, and suddenly every apartment was filled and the first thing that happened is that there was literally no place to park.
this was a place where people had cars. so people were moving out because i wanted to go somewhere where they could park their car. just many repercussions of the city. city. >> and yet we are all still here. >> i wanted to address the issue of the walkers. i'm a native new yorker and after reading the themes book i thought, i realized that everyone on the street as telephones. and there's really the sense of street life. i almost felt like your book was nostalgic for a time when people actually enjoyed walking for the sound. people seem like it there five minutes minutes to spare the country listening to something a so i was wondering if you could comment on that? >> the other day i saw on the street some young man with a telephone clipped to his ear
walking, not looking, and admit about my age walking towards him, and as, this guy was clearly angry, the one my age, and he got up to the kid with the phone can put his hand on his chest and said, heads up. [laughter] what can i tell you? both of them. >> it's funny, i've been at this week and it's a phenomenon noticed is the phone problem. my mother was born and raised in brooklyn, lives in manhattan, she used to call that mall walking which is a tourist walking, walking away for a breast real slowly clogging of street traffic. now i think of it as phone walking because as i walk with people are stopped in the middle of the sidewalk. you've got to get out of the way, keep moving. [inaudible] >> this as vitally change the
sexual energy of the city perhaps. there is no platform or less or fewer of these encounters are street people write about speed and i wanted the difference between walking the streets in new york and walking the streets in paris, which i have done as well as here, and in geneva and it's also a function of age. i find i have white hair now. i can talk to anybody. seriously, it's not a. i'm walking down the sidewalk and i see this guy, i turned to him and say, you look great. and it looks at me and smiled and said you made my day. i mean, it is a difference of age, but also of national character. americans are outgoing. i couldn't do that in geneva. i couldn't do it in paris. it is a cultural phenomenon. to you, agree, disagree?
>> i agree. >> you are absolutely right. you are totally right. and, of course, it has to do with also, well, part of the street life in the past as people tend to talk mostly in their own neighborhoods where they were at least peripherally connected, so there was this whole ecosystem thing. and now, and it was even true when i was young and the lower east side, there weren't that many people. i could not take a walk with a run into at least one or two people i knew. but now it's like there's so many people who are here temporarily, who just come in, just leaving him et cetera. plus i deliver anymore either side lost my grip, but it's a bunch of strangers. but it's true, americans and new
yorkers are not known for being particularly friendly. they are outgoing and a sense that they have opinion which is a different, slightly different thing. >> they are friendly. i've seen on the subways talking. [applause] >> you made the argument. >> in the spirit of friendliness, vivian, but anyone is welcome to comment, i wanted to thank you for the place that you make in your book for sex for women over a certain age, and talk about intimacy and relationships. wondered how you came to decide i can do this and put this in the book? >> i really don't know how to answer that. i decided it's my experiencecome and my experience is what this book is derived from. i didn't think i was being
brave. you thought it was brave? i sort of felt i'm old enough to own it, you know, i'm not going to suffer any sort of social degradation by talking about swedish can you briefly tell them the experience? >> wide? [laughter] >> just to those all in. i feel like i know the experience you're talking about. >> this is the wrong question. it i has not much to do with the city really, except silly. no, no. is not an appropriate question. please. >> i've been interested in the difference between like a more english phrase of industry come in england that might be talk about in the high street in a small town versus being on the street, a more american phrase or the more famous phrase on the road, which is all wrapped up with the automobile. i was wondering if, maybe this
is most los angeles question but if there's any optimism you may have about the resurgence of some of street life that may come with the decline of like the age of the automobile in the 21st century? and also just anything about that linguistic difference about american identity that resonates for you. >> i wish i could see the age of the automobile is declining in los angeles, or anywhere else i don't think it is. it's an interesting question and this goes back to what luc was saying about neighborhoods. for me in terms of los angeles in terms of that sense of closure and the reality, los angeles is simply a city of sprawl but it's also wrote a city of neighborhoods. both of those things are true. i have a similar neighborhood experience do what luc was describing which is the site i walk in my neighborhood, i want to praise the stores. i walk to the grocery store. a walk to the liquor store, to my local restaurant, bar or bank
or whatever. i do have the street-level encounters with people. maybe their people, for the most part i may not even know the name or i might know the first name for their dog. i've never been to their house. they have never been to mine. we recognize each other. do something interesting about that as a kind of social fabric. to be honest partly because i grew up on the upper east side i did not have that experience, the neighborhood experience in new york. i did have that experience when a new downtown but there is something interesting about the fiber. i don't know what it means in terms of, we do like to talk, a friend of mine said you're not going to make a case for l.a. as a walking city. i will make it a case for the city to i walk. i would love to see the city transportation in l.a. is going to sort of do something about the primacy of the car but actually more to the point i think the drivers car to go to
reassert the car. that's one of the tensions of that particular city. i don't know how it is here. i always found driving here to be a total nightmare. >> actually bloomberg get a lot by creating all these pedestrian centers in the middle of the streets to try to bring the traffic down rather than keep tailoring to more and more cars. we have that effort. i don't how well it -- >> talking about eliminating those very -- >> right, exactly. >> is that just because of the topless women? >> yeah, right. >> i'm told we're time for one more question. go for it. >> thanks for coming out. new york, los angeles and paris have always seemed to me to be mobile cities. it seems like they are, for centuries they been global of --
centers of global capital, many immigrants. of probably hundreds of languages but i think there's also this idea that only recently we are entering the age of globalization. do you think that like there is some difference between the kind of globalization that we see nowadays and globalization that was in the past, or is it all like one continuous concept? >> there are small and larger things. for example, i remember how in the '70s you could readily distinguish americans in paris of french people in new york by their hair. just out the window. okay, i'm a weirdo when i go to a new city, preferably, not in the united states so much but abroad. if i'm in a new place, the first place i want to go to is the
supermarket, because that's where you see the most pronounced regional chapter mistakes. you have the weird grocery, the interesting packaging, all the stuff. but i've seen that diminished over the last 20, 30 years considerably. many, many little things like this. we have much more of, you know, we all watch the same like netflix all over the world. translated today's languages. there's a starbucks on the moon outcome of which is, it's crazy. >> but the conversations that are going on in th those starbus are different. >> that's true, too. this outward appearance were talking about. we come down to the intimate details, that's the part where like if you find in paris that you don't know anybody you'll don't know anybody he would've don't know anybody you'll never
find this stuff out because you will not be invited in. and depended on the local culture, it's -- >> you walk down the street and you see young people, young women with these midriff, you know, shorts and legitimate but it looks exactly the same as they opened their vows at the french, italian, this or that. but they are not deciding on the idiom of the city. they are if anything being affected by the idiom of the city. are we right to? there is a difference in every single one of these cities. the way in which, you know, the other day i saw two young women stop on the street with a lot of hair and skinny, and once a duty other, the acting hostile. what are you so hostile? they were working class girls. i don't think you will do that in paris or in rome, or i just, i know. >> you hear something else.
>> right. you would hear something else. that's the point. that's the point, though, otherwise the european union would be working a lot better than it is, right? if it wasn't for the fact that we are going to cling to her cultures into it all by. >> very interested example you raise because you're suggesting that like the new york edm springs from therapy. [laughter] pashtun edm. >> muriel spark what you all love about new york. she described as an open air mental institution. everybody walking around confessing to each other at the drop of a hat in the subway. yes. >> okay, we call it the duty of the city. i want you called it fugitive lyricism. at any rate we have three beautiful books. vivian gornick, david ulin, and
luc sante. thank you for coming. thank you for your time. [applause] >> if you're interested in joining the next panel you don't have to leave. you're welcome to stay to join us for the next panel. thank you. [inaudible conversations] >> a signature feature of booktv as all they coverage of book fairs and festivals from across the country with the top nonfiction authors. here's a schedule beginning this weekend. american revolution.
booktv is at the convention wdown in >> we are joined now by jeanne theoharis who is a professor at brooklyn college and the author of the rebellious life of mrs. rosa parks. of jeanne theoharis, prior to december 11955, was rosa parks rebellious?park >> absolutely. ol abs and a rebellious spirit reallyli starts as a person, as a kid. for instance, she grows up in am home with her grandparents and her mother. her grandfather after world war ii there's this uptake of clan d violence in alabama.r her grandfather will set out ath 6-yearwith a shotgun and the in situ old rosa parks will sit with them.-o another time a white bully pushes for energy pushes back. she believed that she should have to be pushed.
her political life starts when polit she meets as she describes the he eve activist she ever met, and r that's ramen partner can t is married in 1932 and she would join him organizing around the scottsboro case. scottsborough case, and for the next 20 years she will be active, she will join the naacp in 1943 for the next ten years, leading the montgomery naacp into becoming a more activist chapter doing the registration, working on legal cases, a legal lynching cases and try to get justice for black women who have been victims of sexual violence. in 1955 rosa parks is a seasoned rebel if you will. >> host: was december 1st, 1955, the bus sitdown, what was the plan? >> it was not planned, but it was up process both in terms of her life, a culmination of many
acts of rebellion. certainly montgomerie's black community is thinking about filing a suit. as this is a year after brown vs. board of education, talking about the need to challenge segregation. this is all so not the first act, she is not the first person arrested on the bus. in the decade after world war ii you can see a trickle of people refusing to give up their seats, getting up arrested. in 1944 a woman named viola white is arrested, police raided her daughter. there is a s series of cases, 1974, new opportunity, in march of 1955, at first it seems this will be the case of a community that is galvanized, two things